As the temperatures drop, PACEM is reaching out the homeless community in Charlottesville.
PACEM runs seasonal shelters from late October to March. Church organizations and community groups take turns opening their doors, setting up cots, and serving warm meals. Since opening in 2004, more than 100 groups have helped PACEM, from being meal partners, to making financial donations, to hosting the shelters. 26 groups have opened their doors and provided host locations this year and last year.
Jesse Boeckermann, PACEM'S Program Director, says for someone who is homeless, finding shelter this time of year is especially difficult.
"In the summer, it's much easier pitching a tent. It's almost like camping if you want to say it like that," Boeckermann said. "You can't really have that when it's 20 degrees outside and there are wind chills."
While the weather has been mild recently, organizers expect to see more people in need of shelter; especially with a cold front coming in and the threat of snow.
"The colder temperatures usually correlate in the number of people we are serving and helping out. It just means an increased responsibility for everybody in the community to help out those in need, especially when the chance of freezing to death becomes a real possibility," said Boeckermann.
Each night between 5:30 and 5:45, individuals in need of shelter can sign in at The Haven in downtown Charlottesville.
PACEM says that since 2004, they have helped thousands of people find a place to sleep on 60,000 nights.
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